CLEVELAND - Kent State has been picked to claim a second-consecutive Mid-American Conference field hockey title in 2000 as the Golden Flashes received 34 of a possible 36 points in the coaches pre-season poll.
Last season Kent State shared the regular-season championship with Ball State and went on to win the MAC tournament for the second year in a row. The Golden Flashes finished the season ranked 12th in the final National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) poll.
Kent will be returning five starters and eight letterwinners from a team that finished 17-6 overall last season and advanced to the NCAA tournament. The Golden Flashes will enter the season trying to build on their 15-match home winning streak dating back to the 1998 season.
Also receving first place votes were Ohio University and Ball State University. Ohio received 28 total points to finish second in the poll, while Ball State followed close behind with 26 points to finish third. Ball State finished the 1999 season ranked 16th in the NFHCA poll, while Ohio was ranked as high as 19th last season in the NFHCA poll and 15th in the NCAA poll.
Ohio will be returning Jen Watt and Ali Johnstone, the conference's only remaining first-team All-MAC selections from last season. Johnstone will also be the only returning first-team all-region honoree returning to conference play this season after five MAC players received that honor last year.
Ball State lost three first-team All-MAC selections to graduation, Kerri Schoultz, Jocelyn Teall and Sally Northcroft, the nation's top scorer in 1999. The top returner on offense for Ball State will be Heather Weinhold, who was second for the Cardinals last season in scoring with seven goals and three assists.
Louisville finished fourth in voting with 16 points. The Cardinals will return three second-team All-MAC selections from last season, Pip Sanders, Jen Felker and Heather Slider. Following Louisville is Central Michigan with 15 points. The Chippewas will return second-team All-MAC selection Melissa Lazarevski. Miami completes the poll with seven points. The RedHawks will return the leagues's eighth-best goal scorer from last season in second-team All-MAC selection BethYoung.